The English Hermite

or, Wonder of this AGE.

A short pamphlet printed in 1655 that detailed the lifestyle of Roger Crab who it seems had left the rat race and taken on the new age lifestyle and veganism 300 years or so before the Summer of Love. The title goes on to explain. Notice the capitalised nouns. Very seventeenth century.

Being a relation of the life of ROGER CRAB, living neer Uxbridg, taken from his own mouth, shewing his strange reserved and unparallel’d kind of life, who counteth it a sin against his body and soule to eat any sort of Flesh, Fish or living Creature, or to drinke any Wine, Ale or Beere. He can live with three farthings a week.

The first page goes on helpfully to list his diet and what his clothes are made of:

His constant food is Roots and Hearbs, as Cabbage, Turneps,  Carrets, Dock-leaves, and Grasse; also Bread and Bran, without Butter or Cheese: His Cloathing is Sack-cloath.

In the introduction, the anonymous publisher describes Roger’s clothes:

“His apparel is as meane also, he weares a sackcloth frock and no band on his neck”

Here is Roger pictured (in an engraving facing the title page) in his garden, wearing his sackcloth frock (and no band); generally thought of as a porter’s uniform, breeches, shoes and perhaps a shirt underneath. He is also wearing a wide brimmed hat, probably from his hat shop in Chesham which he sold before taking up the hermit’s existence. The house (a mean cottage of his own building) is behind him, though in this copy of the engraving we can only see part of the roof and a small curlicue of smoke rising from a fire. © The Trustees of the British Museum

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One Comment to “The English Hermite”

  1. Apologies for the shameless promotion, but Mark Hailwood had a post on early modern vegetarianism (and diet more generally) last spring in case any of your readers are interested in learning about others like Roger Crab: http://manyheadedmonster.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/eating-animals-a-bit-of-history/

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